The New York Yankees aren't going to be forced to pay Major League Baseball's luxury tax for the first time ever.
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Bronx Bombers are on pace to finish below the $197 million payroll threshold this season, meaning they won't have to pay the tax for the first time since it was instituted in 2003. They are still spending a significant amount of money with the luxury tax payroll up from $178.8 million at the start of the season to $192.1 million, but it is low enough to avoid the penalty.
The ability to avoid the luxury tax penalty also has implications for the upcoming offseason, as the report pointed out the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers will each reset their base tax rates from 50 percent of their total over the threshold to just 20 percent by avoiding it this year.
That figures to put both big-market powers in ideal positions to add to their already talented rosters during free agency.
New York's big splash this offseason was trading for Giancarlo Stanton to play alongside Aaron Judge, who has missed significant time with a fractured wrist. It is nine games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East but two games ahead of the Oakland Athletics for the first wild-card spot and a comfortable eight games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the division is essentially out of reach at this point, the Yankees can at least take solace knowing they are headed to the playoffs and won't have to worry about paying the luxury tax.
That, in turn, could lead to some marquee additions next offseason with less tax concerns and a threshold that is increasing to $206 million.